Wednesday 9 June 2004

The easiest problem in apologetics

Last week I told the diploma course in apologetics that we were looking at the hardest problem in the world—the question of why a good, powerful God would allow evil. This week, I announced, we would look at the easiest problem—the problem of who Jesus is. I consider it thus because I feel that the logical and philosophical problems surrounding Jesus—whether he lived, whether his claims about himself could be true, whether he could perform miracles, whether he could rise from the dead—do seem to be solvable in a way that the question of suffering just isn't. In fact, some of them seem to be straightforward historical issues: given the data we have, is it most reasonable to believe that Jesus was crucified in Palestine under the prefect Pontius Pilate? Yes, it is. Resurrection is harder, but even then, using the logic of history, one is led in the direction of a resurrecton event. Unless, like Spinoza and Hume, we rule it out beforehand.
The reason most people disagree on Jesus questions is that they haven't considered the evidence. Or they have made up their minds beforehand, without it.
William Lane Craig and Paul Barnett do a great job on the historical reasoning.
But what about The Jesus Seminar, Spong and others? I'll leave them for later.

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